An Egypt pyramid more than 4,600 years old, making it older than the Great Pyramid at Giza, has been unearthed near Edfu, a small city on the west bank of the Nile, about 460 miles south of Cairo, a team of Chicago-based archaeologists has announced.The discovery was reported Monday by the online site Live Science.
But the new discovery of the very old pyramid in Egypt has left scientists scratching their heads as they attempt to figure out who built it and why.
The mystery of the newly unearthed Egypt pyramid was deepened by the discovery of the remains of buried children and babies around the pyramid site. The scientists, however, believe that the children were buried at the site even before the extremely ancient pyramid was built.
The structure and size of the pyramid is very similar to six other such recently unearthed pyramids in southern and central Egypt, according to Gregory Marouard, one of the team from the University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute, which coordinated the excavation of the newly discovered Egypt pyramid.
“The similarities from one pyramid to the other are really amazing, and there is definitely a common plan,” he said. But beyond that, the archaeologists are stumped by the purpose of the so-called “provincial” Egypt pyramid.
Because this Egypt pyramid has no inner chamber, and is instead a solid structure, they do not believe that it was intended as a tomb. While the Giza pyramids were built with stones taken from great distances away, scientists believe, the pyramid at Edfu was built entirely from a quarry just a half-mile from the pyramid itself.
Also unlike the famous Giza pyramids, the Edfu pyramid is constructed in a step structure. The research team believes that it originally stood 43 feet high, but looting of its building blocks as well as natural erosion have shrunk the once-great structure to just 16 feet tall today.
Marouard also said that this recently uncovered Egypt pyramid was likely abandoned within a mere 50 years of its completion, when the pharaoh Khufu dedicated the Egyptian state’s resources to building the great Giza pyramids, sometime around 2,590 B.C.
Just to give a sense of perspective on how old the newly discovered Egypt pyramid actually is, it was built more than 1,000 years before Moses would have led the Israelites out of Egypt as described in the Bible, according to estimates of when that event might have occurred.